A lot of you that know me, know that llamas are one of my favorite animals. I love llamas. I was very excited for llama day, which happened to be Thursday.
In Missions, we started out talking about South America, again clarifying the difference between a country and a continent and naming some countries in South America. A lot more of the kids had actually been to countries in South America, and I have been twice, so it was cool to offer that personal experience to the lesson.
We then began discussing the animal for the day: Llamas. I have a couple of model llamas from Ten Thousand Villages, made with real llama wool, so I brought them along. First class we passed them around, but that seemed too distracting so the rest of the classes I held on to them and told them they could come pet them after class. We talked about why llamas are in important animal within the Heifer Project--used for wool, as pack animals, hides, candle fat, etc. People can travel long distances, which they often have to do to go to other towns, especially going to market. Llamas have two toes and padded soles and are therefore very good at climbing the mountains, which is an important aspect when living in the Andes. Llamas eat twigs, moss and brush, meaning they are not competing with a lot of other animals and are easier to feed than other livestock. At an hour old, they are already running around. We heard a story about Tomas, a boy whose family had to wait their turn to get the baby llama from another family that had gotten one from the Heifer Project.
In the afternoon, we acted out a folk tale in which a condor has kidnapped a girl, and then a frog saves her. I then taught a bit of folklorico and tried to tie in some elements from Chilean, Peruvian and Brasilian folk dance. In one of the groups we did a little bit of capoeira, because of a request from one of the kids. I must confess that I have not done capoeira in a while, and was racking my brain to remember some moves. Fortunately the kids had a capoeira master actually come teach them in a different class, because I wouldn't have wanted them to go home with only my (kind of terrible) lesson. The folk dance, on the other hand, went very well. I am pretty experienced in folklorico now as I have danced in a group for four years, so I taught some simple footwork. It seemed a little less exciting because in folklorico there is so much focus on the footwork and the rhythm of the feet than in other dance styles, but the kids seemed to enjoy it all the same, so that's good!